Profile Picture Josh Wolff

created Nov 13 2017

updated Feb 26 2020

Description

This dataset includes Point-in-Time (PIT) data collected in Cambridge between 2012 and 2017. The PIT count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that communities receiving funding through the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program conduct an annual count of homeless persons on a single night in the last 10 days of January, and these data contribute to national estimates of homelessness reported in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to the U.S. Congress. This dataset is comprised of data submitted to, and stored in, HUD’s Homelessness Data Exchange (HDX).
This dataset includes basic counts and demographic information of persons experiencing homelessness on each PIT date from 2012-2017. The dataset contains four rows for each year, including one row for each housing type: Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, or Unsheltered. The dataset also includes housing inventory counts of the number of shelter and transitional housing units available on each of the PIT count dates.
Information about persons staying in emergency shelters and transitional housing units is exported from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), which is the primary database for recording client-level service records. Information about persons in unsheltered situations is compiled by first conducting an overnight street count of persons observed sleeping outdoors on the PIT night to establish the total number of unsheltered persons. Demographic information for unsheltered persons is then extrapolated by utilizing assessment data collected by street outreach workers during the 7 days following the PIT count.

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Category
General Government
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Public
Tags
homeless, shelter, street census, high need, vulnerable
Row Label
SODA2 Only
Yes
Licensing and Attribution
Data Provided By
Cambridge Department of Human Service Programs
Source Link
https://www.cambridgema.gov/DHSP
Maintenance Plan
Estimated Update Frequency
Annually
Civic Innovation
Problem Statements Related to this Data
How can this information be used to target homeless services and supports for specific subpopulations? How can this information be used to estimate the scope of permanent housing and services needed to move people out of homelessness?
Specific Limitations
Limitations
The data collection requirements for the PIT have expanded in recent years, so certain data elements are missing from earlier years. Field descriptions note the year in which new elements were added. The following notes describe limitations of the dataset due to data quality issues. The definition of Chronically Homeless changed in 2016, and the reporting requirements have also shifted numerous times in the years leading up to and immediately following publication of the Final Rule Defining Chronically Homeless (https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Defining-Chronically-Homeless-Final-Rule.pdf). Fluctuations in the count of chronically homeless persons recorded in the PIT data between 2012 and 2017 are attributed to variations in data quality, completeness, and collection methods in the midst of changing definitions and collection standards. The subpopulation counts of persons with serious mental illness, substance use disorder, HIV/AIDS, and victims of domestic violence rely on self-reported data recorded in HMIS. Many HMIS records are missing this information, and providers report that because of the nature of these questions, many clients do not self-identify as belonging to these subpopulations, resulting in assumed undercounts and wide fluctuation among these subpopulation totals from year to year. Counts of unsheltered persons for these subpopulations was not required prior to 2013. As noted above, information about persons in unsheltered situations is compiled by first conducting an overnight street count of persons observed sleeping outdoors on the PIT night to establish the total number of unsheltered persons. Demographic information for unsheltered persons is then extrapolated by utilizing assessment data collected by street outreach workers during the 7 days following the PIT count.
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